Today's blog is part two of my part offseason preview for the Buffalo Sabres. Part two is going to look at the possible trade opportunities that the Sabres may be presented with. I'm going to break it into two categories: players Buffalo may target and current Sabres players on the Trade Block.
1. Jordan Staal-C-Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins may be looking to deal their big center in an attempt to bring in a top flight defenseman. Pittsburgh is running into a situation where they have to pay their top 4 players all in the next two years. Letang, Crosby, Malkin, and Staal will all be UFA's by the end of the 13-14 season. Also complicating things is the large contract that was handed out to James Neal last season through the 2017-18 season. Another issue that can be coming to the front in Pittsburgh is Staal is looking for more playing time. He currently sits as the 3rd line center behind two of the best players in the world in Crosby and Malkin. Rumors have come out that Staal is becoming annoyed with being the third wheel in Pittsburgh. I personally think these rumors are a stretch and this is more of a cap issue that would cause a trade. The 6'4 center fits the needs of the Sabres perfectly. A two way center who can score, play the PP, PK, size, and leadership qualities. Staal has had injury problems in the past and last season in a injury short season Staal put up 50 points in 62 games and was a +11.
Cost: Top 3 Defenseman, Roster Player, Prospect/Draft Pick
2. Patrick Kane- C/RW-Chicago Blackhawks
After a disappointing first round playoff exit the Blackhawks may be looking to make some changes. The former first overall pick may be used an example to the rest of the Blackhawks squad. Rumors out of Chicago are that the Hawks may have seen enough of the party attitude of Kane. They were hoping we would mature and they are running out of patience. Chicago is in need of some defensive help as well as goaltending. If this trade was to happen you wouldn't see the much discussed Miller for Kane trade. If Buffalo was to make this move it could be a risk with Kane being on the small side as well as his off ice issues. Ruff likes players that play two hockey and Kaner is 100% a offensive player.
Cost: Top 3 Defenseman, Prospect/Draft Pick, Goaltender
3. Jerome Iginla-RW-Calgary Flames
Let me start by saying this is unlikely, but still worth mentioning as a possibility. This seems to be more along the line of a deadline deal. Iggy brings the leadership and scoring the Sabres need. With a new coach in Calgary the Flames will likely see what noise they can make with Iginla on the roster before considering to move him.
Cost: Top Prospect, Draft Pick, Roster Player
4. Ryane Clowe-LW-San Jose Sharks
Clowe may be on the market as the Sharks look to change things up in San Jose. Clowe would be a good fit a 3rd line winger who can bring leadership, size, and experience. The 29 year old only has one year left on his deal, but is still young could be a vital piece for a cup run in the future for Buffalo. Clowe can provide some good secondary scoring, he had 45 points in 76 games last season with 17 goals.
Cost: Prospect/Draft Pick, Roster Player
5. Top 5 Draft Pick-2012 Draft
Buffalo has 4 of the top 44 picks in this season's draft. The Sabres are trying to move up in the attempt to draft either Alex Galchenyuk or Mikhail Grigorenko. The main target being Galchenyuk, the Starnia Sting center is highly highly covetted by Sabres management. The organization believes he can be the star center the organization has been searching for since Briere and Drury bolted in Free Agency. Buffalo will try to use their prospect depth and bevy of picks to move up.
Cost: Top Prospect, Top 6 forward, Top 4 Defenseman, Draft Picks
1. Derek Roy-C
Roy may have sealed his fate with his interesting comments on locker clean out day. Roy stated his displeasure with the way the Ruff treats his player publicly sometimes. I tend to agree with Roy's comments, but my opinion doesn't matter. Roy had a disappointing season after coming over a severe hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of the 2010-11 season. Roy also suffered through injuries in training camp and the early part of the season. This setback caused Roy to start the season not in and shape and it showed in his performance. With Ennis and Hodgson in the fold, along with Buffalo in the market for another center Roy will find himself as the odd man out. However it would not shock me to see Roy benefit from a change of scenery, he has the ability to be a point per game player.
2. Andrej Sekera-D
Sekera had a solid 2011-12 season playing with Regehr against the opponets top line. For some reason he is under appreciated in Buffalo. He carried his strong season into a strong performance in World Championships with Slovakia earning the Silver medal. I am very very against trading Sekera unless it lands Buffalo the top center they are looking for, however with 8 NHL defenseman on the roster currently Sekera could be the odd man out.
3. Mike Weber-D
Weber is in a situation similar to Sekera as being the odd man out. However he does not come anywhere near the skill that Sekera possesses. Weber is a # 6 or 7 defenseman at best. If he was to be moved it would be as a throw in or for a late round pick to clear out the log jam on the blue line.
4. Luke Adam- C
Adam came on strong to start the season playing on the top line. However he faded as the season went on and never regained his scoring touch in Rochester. Adam appeared in the All-Star weekend and then we sent back to Rochester when he returned. I believe that Adam was given a raw deal by Ruff and killed his confidence. Adam is going to be a top 6 center in this league however I fear like many others Ruff killed his chances in Buffalo. It would be best for the kid to get a shot somewhere else instead of playing on the 4th line under Ruff. He could be a good chip to use in any big trade.
5. Others-Prospects/Draft Picks
Mark Pysyk, 12th overall pick, 21st overall pick, 41st overall pick, 44th overall pick, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, and TJ Brennan
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